Samegrelo


Samerelo is a historical Georgian province lying in the western part of the country. It´s name means “the land of Mingrelians” (second most populous Georgian ethnic group). In the ancient times, Samegrelo constituted a large part of the Colchis kingdom, famous as the “the land of the Golden Fleece”.

Samegrelo is mostly known for its historical sites, caves, mineral springs or coastal marshes. As the most of the province is covered by flatlands, it´s not considered to be a premium trekking destination. Which is quite surprising, as Egrisi mountains lying in its northern parts treature some of the most scenic lakes in Georgia. Egrisi mountains are not as high as massifs further to the north, but are more diverse - one can find here many rocky peaks, glacial lakes, gorges and waterfalls.

Samegrelo

How to get to Zugdidi:

Zugdidi, the capital of Samegrelo is easily accesible from all major Georgian cities. From Tbilisi, there is a highly practival daily night train and also several marshrutkach.
There are also numerous marshrutkas connecting Zugdidi with Kutaisi. Batumi is not so easy as it's bus station is quite chaotic but there should be at least 1 or 2 leaving for Zugdidi in the morning.

Mountains of Samegrelo

Mountains of Samegrelo

Dadiani palace


Dadiani palace is the complex of museums, located in Zugdidi, the capital of Samegrelo region. Originally, it served as a seat of Dadiani´s, a ruling dynasty of Samegrelo. One of the last princes of the dynasty, David Dadiani was a devoted archeologist and held here several exhibitions of his findings from Nokalakevi. After the revolution, the palace was turned into full-time museum.
Nowadays, it houses a collection of over 40 000 items - books, weapons, furniture, paintings, icons, relics, exotic gifts and archeological findings. Famous is the supposed Shroud of Holy Mary, brought to Georgia in 1453 after the fall of Constantinople. It’s shown to the public every year in August - the rest of the time, it is kept in the so-called Virgin Tower.
Museum also contains many items related to Napoleon thanks to Salome Dadiani, who marrier grandson of emperor’s sister Carolina. The most notable of them is one of Napoleon’s three bronze death masks.

Dadiani palace in Zugdidi

Dadiani palace in Zugdidi


Okatse canyon

Okatse canyin is up to 100m deep gorge located close to Gordi village. In 2013, government modernized the whole area and turned it into a regular “attraction”.
Walk starts in the Dadiani gardens in Gordi, which once served as a summer residence of the Dadiani dynasty. From here, you have to walk 2 kilometers through the park to the main attraction of the area - 700m long hanging walkway, built right into the side of the canyon. The walk ends at the viewing platform ejected over the chasm.
Another, much less visited attraction of the area (it lies some 5km from the canyon) is the Kinchka waterfall, one of the tallest ones in Georgia. This is also a great place to bath and picnic during hot summer days.

Okatse canyon (by Dariko)

Okatse canyon (by Dariko)


Martvili canyon

Martvili canyon lies in the eastern Samegrelo. It is a charming, peaceful gorge with small blue/green colored river at the bottom. There are also several waterfalls and small grottos.
In 2016, a new visitor’s centre was built here. Nowadays, there is an entry fee 5 GEL For another 10 GEL, you can take short, but pretty nice boat ride in the canyon. There are several picnic spots at the edge of the cannyon. However, swimming is forbidden.

Martvili canyon

Martvili canyon


Prometheus cave

Prometheus (Kumistavi) cave is the largest Georgian cave. Even though only one-tenth is opened tourists, it’s definitely worth of visit. Accesible area consists of six underground halls and a lake, walking tour is about 1,5km long. There is also an advertised possibility to take a boat for the last part of the trip, but it wasn’t available when we were visiting and all my friends had a same experience, so I am not sure if it ever works.
Cave was modernized in 2012 and people responsible did a really good job. The lighting is top-notch, created a really good atmosphere and one sometimes feels like in a true magical underground kingdom. There is also an ambient music, it took a while to get used to but otherwise is fine. The only thing I don’t understand - why was it named after Prometheus. If I remember correctly, in that legend featured an eagle, not a giant bat…

Prometheus cave

Prometheus cave


Trek to Tobavarchkhili lake

This trek crosses Egrisi mountains, which separate Svaneti from Samegrelo lowlands. It doesn't come close to the highest mountains of Caucasus, but that's fully compensated by it's very diverse environment. High passes, magical lakes, rocky gorges, waterfalls, shepherds huts, remote valleys - this trek has it all.

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Difficulty: Hard

Hike to Intsra waterfall

This little known walk takes you through the valley of Intsra river to a pretty nice waterfall. It doesn’t belong to top sights of Georgia, but if you happen to be in Zugdidi with some extra time and desire to get away from crowds, it is an interesting option.

  • Duration: 3 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

From Tobavarchkhili lake into Magana gorge

This is an ideal sidetrip if you want to spend extra day camping by Tobavarchkhili lake. You wil have an opportunity to see Toba waterfall, explore upper part of the Magana valley, visit local shepherds and taste their traditional Elarji dish.

  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Samerelo is a historical Georgian province lying in the western part of the country. It´s name means “the land of Mingrelians” (second most populous Georgian ethnic group). In the ancient times, Samegrelo constituted a large part of the Colchis kingdom, famous as the “the land of the Golden Fleece”.

Samegrelo is mostly known for its historical sites, caves, mineral springs or coastal marshes. As the most of the province is covered by flatlands, it´s not considered to be a premium trekking destination. Which is quite surprising, as Egrisi mountains lying in its northern parts treature some of the most scenic lakes in Georgia. Egrisi mountains are not as high as massifs further to the north, but are more diverse - one can find here many rocky peaks, glacial lakes, gorges and waterfalls.

Samegrelo

How to get to Zugdidi:

Zugdidi, the capital of Samegrelo is easily accesible from all major Georgian cities. From Tbilisi, there is a highly practival daily night train and also several marshrutkach.
There are also numerous marshrutkas connecting Zugdidi with Kutaisi. Batumi is not so easy as it's bus station is quite chaotic but there should be at least 1 or 2 leaving for Zugdidi in the morning.

Mountains of Samegrelo

Mountains of Samegrelo

Svaneti Mountains of Samegrelo Dadiani palace in Zugdidi Okatse canyon (by Dariko) Martvili canyon Prometheus cave

Copyright © 2016 Jozef Antala. All rights reserved

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